A primary objective behind Forward Pinellas’ bicycle and pedestrian activities is to allow for bicycling and walking to be viable commuting alternatives in addition to being healthy recreational activities. This not only helps to reduce traffic congestion, it reduces auto emissions, saves energy and creates a healthier population and improved quality of life for the County’s residents. Forward Pinellas has a three-pronged approach to creating safer and friendlier environments for walking and bicycling focusing on education, engineering and enforcement.
Education encompasses activities related to increasing the awareness of laws affecting walkers and bicycles as well as safe pedestrian and bicycling practices. The Pinellas County Pedestrian Safety Action Plan reflects a comprehensive approach by Forward Pinellas and its partner agencies to improve travel conditions for pedestrians. Forward Pinellas also works closely with community groups and organizations, such as the Community Traffic Safety Team, Florida Suncoast Safe Kids Coalition, and the Pinellas County School Board, in these education initiatives.
Engineering revolves around efforts to expand the County’s sidewalk, trail and bicycle lane networks to create more and better opportunities for these travel modes. Forward Pinellas is directly involved in these efforts is by prioritizing and allocating funding to construct bicycle and pedestrian facilities throughout the County through the Transportation Improvement Program. Development of the County’s sidewalk, bicycle lane and trail networks is guided by the MPO Bicycle Pedestrian Master Plan Facilities Element.
Forward Pinellas partners with local law enforcement agencies to ensure laws affecting bicyclists and walkers are being appropriately enforced to improve their safety. Law enforcement officers from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and municipal police departments participate on the Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) and the CTST, which provide input on matters affecting the safety and security of bicyclists and walkers in the County.
The County’s planned and existing trail network is identified in the Bicycle Pedestrian Master Plan Facilities Element. It includes the nationally recognized Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail. This facility extends 45 miles from East Lake Tarpon to St. Petersburg.
The Pinellas Trail and its connecting facilities include bridges over waterways, connections to shopping and employment centers, parks, schools and other popular destination points. An important element in the planned trail network is the 20.6-mile Duke Energy Trail. When completed, the Duke Energy Trail will provide a north/south trail facility in eastern Pinellas County and will complete the Pinellas Trail Loop. The northern end of the Duke Energy Trail will connect with the East Lake/Tarpon Springs section of the Pinellas Trail and the southern terminus will connect to the planned Weedon Island Trail.